LIVE: RAF Tornado jets prepared at air base as May’s ‘war cabinet’ gather at Downing Street to consider Syria strike

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The world is braced for war as Theresa May calls an urgent Cabinet meeting over the Syrian chemical attack – saying “all indications” point to Assad’s regime

Cabinet ministers are locked in a crunch meeting for emergency talks over whether to launch British military strikes in Syria.

RAF Tornado jets were being prepared today at an air base in Norfolk ahead of the special meeting to determine Britain’s role in a possible US-led attack on the Syrian regime.

Theresa May reportedly ordered British submarines to move within missile range of Syria, sparking fears strikes could be unleashed in response to an alleged chemical attack on the Syrian people by its own government.

US President Donald Trump says an “attack” on Syria could be “very soon or not so soon at all”.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has warned the West against air strikes, saying they risk causing further instability in the region and upsetting international peace and security.

Mrs May is holding an emergency Cabinet meeting on Thursday afternoon to discuss Britain’s response to a chemical weapons attack allegedly carried out by the Syrian regime on its own people.

Mr Trump has previously warned Russia’s ally to “get ready” for missiles while the White House refused to rule out direct conflict with Moscow.

EasyJet and other airlines have re-routed flights near the conflict zone after Europe’s air traffic control agency warned of possible missile strikes in the eastern Mediterranean region.

Stay here for the latest updates.

KEY EVENTS

Fact finders travel to Syria to investigate alleged chemical weapon attack

Fact finders from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are travelling to Syria and will start work on Saturday, the agency said.
The OPCW decided to send the team this week to investigate alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian town of Douma – a mission requested by the Syrian and Russian governments.

Paul Ryan: Trump has authority to use force in Syria

Donald Trump has the authority to unleash military force in Syria, it was claimed today.

US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said the country was obligated to lead an international response to an alleged chemical attack on the Syrian people by its own government.

He said President Trump did not require permission from Congress to launch military strikes because he already had the authority.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “and his enablers, Tehran and Moscow, have committed another mass atrocity. … I think the U.S. has an obligation to lead an international response to hold people accountable for that,” Mr Ryan told reporters.

RAF Tornado jets prepared for possible Syria air strikes

Britain’s Tornado jets were being prepared at an airfield in Norfolk earlier today ahead of a special cabinet meeting on Syria.

Engineers were seen checking over the fighter jets at RAF Marham as Theresa May and her cabinet draw up plans for British Military action in Syria.

She has been holding a council of war at Downing Street this afternoon to decide exactly what role Britain should play in a US-led attack on the Syrian regime.

The jets are on standby to fly out to the RAF Akrotiri base in Cyprus depending on the outcome of this afternoon’s meeting.

Britain has six Typhoon fighter jets, eight GR4 Tornado aircraft and one air-to-air Voyager refuelling tanker based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus.

Donald Trump has said an “attack” on Syria could be “very soon or not at all”.

But Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has warned the West against air strikes, saying they risk causing further instability in the region and upsetting international peace and security.

US ‘has not decided whether to strike in Syria’

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has told Congress the United States has not made any decision to launch military attacks in Syria.

Donald Trump is expected to hold a meeting today to consider any offensive aimed at the Syrian regime and said decisions will be made “soon”.

 

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